In Which we Discover Secret Evidence of an Equine Monster

I had often wanted to see what Bob would look like riding a genuine mountain bike and therefore it was with a healthy amount of anticipation that I pulled up at Mt Evelyn for our early morning ride. After all, we had spent an evening earlier in the week getting the mountain bike especially prepared with Bob’s racing seat and cleated pedals. Surely this would have to be the day when Bob’s real rubber finally hit the trail. No more plastic fantastics – but a real pit bull special all of his own.

Several minutes went by but he had not appeared. Surely he would not chicken out at this stage. My musings were interrupted by the ringing of my mobile phone. It was Bob. “I can’t come out riding this morning” he said. “I am a sick man”. Apparently he had taken the mountain bike out for a secret trial run, and when he tried to race up the hill at about 40 kph the inevitable happened – a badly sprained gluteus maximus. I had tried to warn him that mountain bikes are NOT sprinting bikes, but apparently it is impossible to teach a (very) old rider new tricks.

Fortunately our newest recruit Peter (Mulga Bill) Warren is made of stronger stuff and presented on time with his massive legs all preened and ready for the ride. I had brought along the Norco (which I hadn’t ridden for some time) to try to reacquaint my backside with the different seat before the Bairnsdale trip in a few days’ time. It was an unfamiliar feeling to be able to race down the hill and not feel a shaking in my fillings as I bounced over the bumps. As I watched Peter drawing ahead I begun to wonder whether the real reason for Bob’s absence is that he is suffering from some form of “calf envy”.

By the time we reached Wandin we were met by a panting John who greeted us with a large wheeze and a cry of “Why do we do this?” Peter and I knew that it is best to simply ignore John’s rhetorical questions and just keep pedalling. Although the morning was still quite cold, it was at least still and dry. In fact it was quite amazing how quickly the last few warm days have dried up the puddles which were so evident last week.

The fact that we were only met by a half hearted attack by Eddy at Woori Yallock probably means that his testosterone levels are dropping along with the water levels. He certainly seems to be rapidly losing his real menace. I almost miss the battle that we had learned to expect each time we passed the station.

We pushed on at a moderate rate until we reached the RSL Club at Yarra Junction. At that point John demanded that we stop for a drinks break. It was at that point that we noticed quite a remarkable sign boldy posted on one of the properties. It announced in large letters “STOLLEN – 6 HORSE RUG – RING POLICE POLICE”. I have seen horse rugs before but never one big enough to cover SIX horses at once. Was it like some sort of gigantic tea cosy with 6 holes cut at one end for the heads and six holes at the other side for the tails? Or was it a rug specially made for a giant horse? If so, then where was the giant horse hidden? Surely a horse THAT big would have to be something like the famous Trojan Horse. I looked around but could see no further evidence of this huge beast, but it would have to something to be wary of in the future when passing this point.

The rest of the ride to Warburton was achieved without further ado, although in a time 10 minutes slower than last week. When we pulled in to the coffee shop we found a painter busily painting the concrete floor and the tables. We would obviously have to find somewhere else to eat our early lunch. When (20 minutes later) John pulled into the coffee shop we warned him by pointing out the wet paint. “Yes I see it” he said and then promptly proceeded to park his bike with his front wheel right in the shiny wet green paint.

After a pleasant rest and a chat we turned back for the return ride. It was easy to follow John because he left a clear dotted geen line for the first 300 metres or so. In spite of this small problem and the fact that the cold weather was causing his bladder some distress we were in high spirits as we rode along.

John left us at Woori Yallock where he had left his car, leaving Peter and I to complete the ride to Mt Evelyn. By this time the heavier mountain bike I was riding was starting to take its toll and my legs were feeling significantly heavier than usual. Peter was obviously savouring his second wind as he pedalled off into the distance. I thought that discretion was always the better part of valour and decided to complete the ride at a comfortable speed rather than set any records.

Back at Mt Evelyn by 1 pm we now had the unwelcome prospect of having to go back to work for the rest of the day. What a pity that I wasn’t born a man of independent means (or maybe married a rich wife), but I guess it could be worse. Oh well, until next week……